Travel through America's heart and soul. Tour a Vanderbilt mansion, explore the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains and enjoy a hosted dinner at the Muhammad Ali Center.
ORIENTATION of Charlotte, Asheville, Lexington, Louisville
VISIT Nascar Hall of Fame, George Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Kentucky Horse Park, Alltech Brewing & Distilling Co., Old Friends, Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby Museum or the Louisville Slugger Museum
First Class Travel Highlights:
Audio Headsets for flexible sightseeing
Daily breakfast and an average of 50% of evening meals
Luxury air-conditioned coach with WiFi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)
Cherry-picked hotels all tried and trusted
Optional Experiences and free time
All porterage and local charges included
Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras
An expert Travel Director and separate Driver
All hotel tips, charges and local taxes
Airport transfers on the first and last day of your guided holiday
VIP entry to many sights
Arrive in Charlotte, North Carolina, joining your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception at your Charlotte hotel.
Charlotte – Asheville
This morning, after a city orientation, learn about the history and heritage of NASCAR at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The museum honors drivers who have shown exceptional skill at NASCAR driving, all-time great crew chiefs and owners, broadcasters and other major contributors to competition. After lunch on your own in downtown Charlotte, we'll head to Asheville, known for a vibrant arts scene and historic architecture.
Asheville – Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Pigeon Forge (2 Nights)
Explore the elegance of yesteryear, starting your day with a self-guided visit to the Biltmore Estate, the largest privately owned home in America and former luxurious homestead of George and Edith Vanderbilt. Stroll through acres of landscaped gardens and gain insight into the lives of a great family once considered American Royalty. We continue to the iconic UNESCO-listed Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Stop at the Sugarlands Visitor Center and explore 19th century wilderness settlement life. We'll also visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, then travel through the centre of the park. We overnight in Pigeon Forge.
Pigeon Forge Free Time
Enjoy a full, free day to connect with the beautiful natural landscapes of the Smoky Mountains, so named for the "smoky" mist of blue haze that surrounds these peaks. Embark on a hike, visit Cades Cove to see the local wildlife or consider an evening of invigorating fun, stampeding at Dolly Parton's famous Dinner Attraction.
Pigeon Forge – Lexington
Drive through Kentucky's Wilderness Road Heritage Highway stopping en route in Berea. On arrival in Lexington visit Alltech Brewing & Distilling Co., offering the unique distinction of being both brewery and distillery for a tour and tasting.
Lexington – Louisville (2 Nights)
'Dive into Culture' today, saddling up for a soulful encounter with the equine residents of a local horse retirement farm, where you'll 'Make a Difference' by contributing to the dignified retirement of thoroughbreds whose careers have come to an end. Then delve into the equestrian heritage of this bluegrass city at the Kentucky Horse Park or explore the International Museum of the Horse, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. This evening, we 'Connect with a Local', and enjoy a hosted 'Be My Guest' dinner at the Muhammad Ali Center with a local guest.
After an orientation tour, choose to spend the morning at the Kentucky Derby Museum where you may imagine the thundering sounds of thoroughbred hoofs on the celebrated Churchill Downs racetrack as you visit the home of the Kentucky Derby since 1875. Feel the thrill of the "Greatest Two Minutes in Sports" or perhaps head to the Louisville Slugger Museum showcasing the story of the Louisville Slugger baseball bats in baseball and in American history. Then spend the afternoon at leisure. This evening, we join our fellow travellers for a Farewell Dinner of foot-stomping, festive fun and flavours of authentic Kentucky cuisine.
Transfer to Louisville International Airport. Consider extending your stay at the Embassy Suites Louisville, or join our Tastes and Sounds of the South trip.